Digital nomadism is a great opportunity for many people to leave their lives so that they don’t revolve around work 24/7 and to see different places while they’re at it, but even if that dream is alluring, it doesn’t come stress-free.
For one thing, there are bureaucracy issues to keep in mind, which, depending on each respective state you’re visiting or relocating to, may require different paperwork that is impossible to obtain once you’ve moved.
Let’s take a look at some of the key things every digital nomad should keep in mind.
Gathering the Proper Documentation
It is a good idea to make copies of all important documents and also keep copies with a friend or family member back home. The latter is usually overlooked, but think about it this way: if you happen to need a paper once you’re abroad, you’ll need someone to send it to you.
It goes without saying that you should check your passport validity and visa requirements beforehand. Renew your passport if its validity is less than one year, as it is easier (and cheaper) than traveling back home to do it.
If you’re planning to visit a EU country, familiarize yourself with EU travel laws.
Obtaining an International Driving License is also a good idea as in some countries you’ll find it more sustainable to rent a car than to use public transportation.
Staying Compliant With Your Taxes
Taxes are one of the most important issues to keep in mind, as you’ll need to consider both local and U.S. expat taxes. Depending on your net worth, the sums may vary greatly, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the costs before you set out.
Many novice digital nomads imagine this lifestyle is a constant vacation. In most cases, reality is rather the opposite. It is far more sustainable to establish a base in a country that is affordable and stay there for a couple of months (or more) before setting out to the next destination.
Unless you have substantial sums on you in the beginning, you’ll have to adjust your standards of living to suit your budget. If you’re planning to establish your own business, you will need lots of money to do it right. To stay on budget until your business is successful, you may want to consider lodging in hostels or airbnbs instead of eyeing luxurious flats from day one.
Manage Your Own Insurance
The matter of insurance is probably the one that’s troubling digital nomads the most. Choosing insurance is always a tricky part, but the good news is that insurance companies are adapting to embrace the emerging digital nomadism trend.
The same advice applies to digital nomads as to anyone else in this matter. Compare packages and make your calculations to find the best option. Keep in mind that if you’re planning to establish a base abroad, you’ll also need to comply with its requirements, notably medical insurance, as the costs of which may be significant. E.g., the majority of European countries require at least a €30k medical insurance plan for foreigners planning to do business in their country.
Having the Right Tools
Lastly, you’ll need to think of professional investments. For digital nomads relying on remote work, it is absolutely necessary to think ahead in this matter. For example, the choice of the best email providers and communication tools is a must and there are also other apps to keep in mind.
It is only fair to say that not all tools cost money. There are a fair number of free tools that will serve the purpose, but if you’re establishing a business, you’ll want to look into professional editions. Remember that it is cheaper to invest in quality tools early on than to keep making smaller investments continually to make ends meet.
Find Your Way Around
Lastly, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the new country of residence as soon as you relocate. Contrary to popular belief that you’ll be vacationing from day one, setting the basics comes first. Where do you go for grocery shopping? Which store is the cheapest? Which one is open 24/7? How will you commute? Is it cheaper to rent a car or to use public transportation? Where and how do you pay your bills? Where and when do you pay the taxes?
While there are tourist organizations that can help you get started, you should rely on the expat community and the locals nevertheless. The latter can prove particularly difficult if you don’t speak the language, so at least make an attempt to learn the basic phrases that will help you get around.
Digital nomadism is an adventure of sorts, but it is also hard work, at least in the beginning. There are so many things to consider beforehand that you should make a list so as to not forget a single item. Allow some time for adjusting to the new country before enjoying a vacation lifestyle, and remember to mingle with the locals.